Entire WA Liberal party arrives in Geraldton to talk housing, healthcare with locals

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Eight of the nine WA Liberal Party members who visited Geraldton this week.
Camera IconEight of the nine WA Liberal Party members who visited Geraldton this week. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

While small enough to squeeze into a minivan, the WA Liberal Party opted for a more spacious mode of transport for its Geraldton visit this week.

The Mid West city was selected as the location for the party’s planning day, with members to also take the opportunity to meet with local government, community groups and residents during their stay.

Touching down at Geraldton airport alongside his eight colleagues yesterday, Member for the Agricultural Region Steve Martin said the primary issue raised by locals was the ongoing housing crisis in Geraldton and surrounds.

“I think we have a Minister (for Housing) who has not realised the extent of the crisis, particularly in regional WA,” he said. “Lately we have seen an effort from the Department of Housing to actually flog off some of those (public housing) homes to not-for-profits who don’t have the resources or the ability to put them back into the housing market.”

Mr Martin said he was particularly interested to know how many of the 50-plus uninhabitable properties in Spalding the State Government would repair and make available to tenants.

“We haven’t got a response about how many homes (Department of Housing) will reopen in Spalding and put people in within the next three months,” he said.

“It has been raised in the media and we haven’t been able to get the Minister to take responsibility for the situation.”

Housing Minister John Carey declined to comment this week, referring questions from the Guardian to the Department of Communities.

He was also in Geraldton this week but did not make himself available to the media or community members, despite many seeking answers to questions about housing in Geraldton.

Mr Martin will today visit Geraldton Health Campus with shadow health minister Libby Mettam to probe staff and resource shortage concerns.

While he applauded staff for their efforts throughout the pandemic, Mr Martin said Geraldton’s recent COVID protocol breach pointed to the need for the Government to step up support of regional health.

“We were always going to get COVID cases in regional WA, that was obvious, and the response hasn’t been great in that one example we have had in Geraldton,” he said.

“I just want to congratulate the hardworking doctors and staff at that hospital who are doing a wonderful job, but I have to say I think they are being hamstrung by a bit of Government inaction.”

“It was put to me that the only work they’ve done up there in four and a bit years is they’ve upgraded the carpark so the ambulances now have a place to ramp … if it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable.”

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